Magdeburg is handball champion: Unstoppable SCM storms to the next title

Magdeburg is handball champion
Unstoppable SCM storms to the next title

33 games and only two defeats: SC Magdeburg is unstoppable in the German handball league. With a win over the Rhein-Neckar Löwen, the high-flyers have secured their third title of the season. Their eyes are now on a historic opportunity.

SC Magdeburg has won the German handball championship for the third time after 2001 and 2022. Now Bennet Wiegert’s team is aiming for the ultimate in Cologne on June 8th and 9th. The World Cup winner wants to defend the title in the Champions League after the DHB Cup and the championship – then the quadruple would be perfect. With the sovereign 34:21 (19:11) on Thursday evening at the Rhein-Neckar Löwen, the SCM made the championship perfect one matchday before the end of the Bundesliga. The award will then take place this Sunday after the last home game against HSG Wetzlar (4.30pm/Dyn).

After just 28 minutes, the SCM had already thrown out a ten-goal lead in Mannheim (19:9). The best scorers were Daniel Pettersson (6) for Magdeburg and Juri Knorr (5) for the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. “It feels damn good, it was a great game from us. I’m a little sorry for the way the farewell ceremony took place here, especially when a great player leaves the stage. We represented the interests of the SCM today, and there was something at stake for us,” Wiegert told the TV station Dyn and said of Uwe Gensheimer’s farewell: “One of the greatest handball players the world and Germany have ever had.”

So far this season, the SCM has suffered only two defeats. On the third matchday, they lost 26:31 to Füchse Berlin and on the 22nd matchday, they lost 27:28 to TSV Hannover-Burgdorf. There was also a 27:27 draw in Leipzig against SC DHfK and a 29:29 in Melsungen. “We have worked hard to have every chance of competing for all titles,” said Wiegert, who has been responsible for the sport at the SCM since 2016. Since then, the ten-time GDR champions have won eight titles under his direction.

“One of the best coaches in the world”

Bennet Wiegert, son of Moscow Olympic champion Ingolf Wiegert, is considered the father of the success on the Elbe. Not only because he continues the symbiosis between top-class sport and family atmosphere at SCM, but because of his playing philosophy. He relies on agile, fast players, on fast-paced transition play from a dynamic and robust defense. And he plans this success years in advance with great attention to detail, as the contract extension of the Swede Felix Claar until 2028 has just shown.

After a series of 30 games without defeat across all competitions, Wiegert had to reach for the razor again and trim his beard after the defeat in Hanover. Nevertheless, the whole league is amazed by the Magdeburg project. “He is now one of the best coaches in the world, I would never have believed that back then,” said Wiegert’s former companion at SCM, Stefan Kretzschmar. With his Füchse in Berlin, sports director Kretzschmar was the fiercest title rival this season until the 28:31 defeat in Magdeburg.

The two Icelanders Omar Ingi Magnusson and Gisli Kristjansson are the Elbe city team’s double heart in the half positions. Unstoppable in one-on-one situations, strong understanding of the game and strong nerves when finishing. The half-right Magnusson was voted HBL player of the season in 2022, then top scorer at the 2022 European Championships and, like his compatriot, is hard to imagine the SCM game without. Playmaker Kristjansson, who also repeatedly plays in the top position on the left, is a real fighter despite his many injury setbacks. The Icelander, voted the most valuable HBL player last year, is back in top form.

Magdeburg also got over the doping case involving their goalkeeper Nikola Portner. After the positive doping test and the suspension of the Swiss in the final phase of the season, the Spaniard Sergey Hernandez was reliable. Against the Lions, he saved a dozen balls in the first half alone. At the Final Four in Cologne, he helped to win the DHB Cup with an outstanding performance.

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